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Q5. 'when Not Available In Any 'real' Sense, Homeland Exists As An Absence That Acquires Surplus Meaning By The Fact Of Diaspora' (Vijay Mishra).

1024 words - 5 pages

OED defines diaspora as “the dispersion or spread of any people from their homeland”. This notion of 'homeland' and whether this helps to form your cultural identity is problematic, as we question who or what defines you. Is it really true that home helps fundamentally form your sense of self and your conception of identity and therefore your cultural identity. If you have a sense of self does that help form a strong cultural identity? Do we need to have 'real' territory to have cultural identity or can imaginative geography and history help intensify ones cultural identity and belongingness? In this essay, I will use Amitav Ghosh’s novel The Shadow Lines and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. I ...view middle of the document...

This created a bitterness and a fear of 'the Other'. This partition left many people including Tha'mma in disarray of her cultural identity, resulting in her confusion of whether she is coming or going, as “her place of birth had come to be so messily at odds with her nationality” (Ghosh 187). As “she realises that, post partition, for immigrants like her to come home is to arrive in a foreign country” (Roy 39) Therefore, Ghosh portrays that like Tha'mma cultural identity is rooted not just in religious beliefs but the geographical homelands of the diasporas. The “Partition produced a plethora of ideas on the question of what could constitute on adequate proof of loyalty to India” (Pondey) Tha'mma's cultural identity is strongly rooted in her beliefs of Indian nationalism and what she believed as being loyal to India, she even sells her jewellery to help fund this nationalism war. She constantly refers to the separation of 'us and them' causing a binary between 'us' the Hindus and 'them' the Muslims. “We have to kill them before they kill us” (Ghosh 291) Her cultural identity is rooted in this separation caused by the border that was placed over her and her home, disabling her to have a sense of secure or 'real' homeland because of “them”, the supposed enemy. This binary notion of us and them can be seen in Mahesh Dattani's 'Final Solutions' play from the Hindu chorus and Ramnik “Thwart them. So we may live in peace” “We?” “We, who are right!” “And they” “they who are wrong. Since we are right. And they oppose us” (Dattani 181) In referral to the novels title, we may interpret The Shadow Lines as a reference to how a shadow lacks substance, even after the narrator explains to Tha'mma that she will not actually see the borders, she is unable to identity that they are mere illusionary and drawn only on to a map. She is unable to appreciate that the shadow reflected over the...

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